This post originally appeared on my other blog, Attorney O’s Midnights Musings: Connecticut Law. I receive so many calls about this subject that I felt it was worth re-posting here. The only modifications I have made are to some of the links, in order to direct you to information that is specific to lesbians and gays.
People often seem to confuse a Living Will with a Last Will and Testament. The simple difference is that a Living Will (also known as Advance Directives) comes into play while you’re alive but a Last Will and Testament controls what happens after you die.
A Living Will is a document that informs medical professionals of your intentions with respect to life support options and other important choices you have made concerning your medical treatment that will be used in the event you are unable to communicate your wishes. In Connecticut, you must appoint a person over the age of 18 to serve as your Health Care Representative. That trusted person is designated by you to communicate your wishes to the medical personnel caring for you, so it’s important that he or she knows your intentions.
By contrast, a Last Will and Testament is a document that determines how your assets are distributed after your death. In that document, you will name beneficiaries (persons to whom you choose to leave specific items). You will also name an executor to oversee the distribution of your estate and to work within the Probate Court process until the task is accomplished. If you die without a Will (called ‘intestate’) your estate will be distributed according to the statutes in effect at the time of your death. Those statutes may not necessarily reflect your intentions.
For further discussion on Living Wills and a Last Will and Testament, you should consult with a Connecticut attorney. Both documents are equally important.
Be sure to read my earlier posts on the subject of Last Will and Testament from Attorney O’s Midnight Musings: Connecticut Law blog.
You may also wish to read my earlier posts about Living Wills from Attorney O’s Midnight Musings: Connecticut Law blog.
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copyright 2012 Irene C. Olszewski, Esq.